Maintaining Work With a Newborn Baby

By John Boerstler

We had our first child, a little girl, in 2014 when we were still somewhat “spry” as 34 and 35 year-olds.  Four years later, we had our son, and I don’t know if it’s the effect of being 4 years older or the fact that we were 4 years out of practice, or the fact that we both have assumed more responsibility at work, we are worn out!  My wife is staying home from the office for 13 weeks to serve as the primary caregiver for our son but is still responding to supervisor and client correspondence. I’m still working full-time, unable to escape the inevitability of my team or our partners requesting my presence in meetings and events.  Even though the ‘operational tempo’ has been fast without a lot of sleep in caring for him, we’ve been able to maintain a good balance between caregiving and work. Here’s how we’ve done it in the first three months.

Coffee!  Yes, of course that’s a given but when you’re waking up at 3am and little man doesn’t want to go back to sleep so you start start on work projects on your laptop using one hand and rocking or cradling him in the other, good, strong coffee is an absolute must.  I recommend ordering Black Rifle Coffee Company which can easily be ordered and shipped for free within 2 days (including weekends!) on Amazon Prime.  Besides being incredible coffee, Black Rifle is also a veteran-owned business so I never pass up a chance to buy veteran first!

At first we did the typical both wake up in response to baby crying or grunting or moving or well, making any sort of noise while in the Halo swivel bassinet next to our bed. After learning that you want to start training your newborn to sleep in their crib as early as possible from our first child, we moved him out of our room and out of the bassinet to his crib within two weeks and employed a remote Motorola baby monitor to respond to feeding time.  Another lesson learned from our daughter that we used with our newborn son was replacing the standard issue crib mattress with a much more comfortable Graco crib mattress plus a simple bed wedge underneath to elevate him for better burping after feeding.  You can find most of these items on Amazon, by the way, and having Amazon Prime was a savior this time around as our son came earlier than anticipated, leaving us less time to prepare the amenities in his room, to include having to buy a new changing table last minute.  

In terms of keeping up with work, I rely on a variety of tools to help my ensure my foggy new Dad memory doesn’t fail me in meeting deadlines or maintaining productivity.  For example, I use Evernote to track all of my important projects, meeting notes, ideas, strategic plans, and all of my hopes and dreams.  

Speaking of my foggy new Dad memory, we rely on the Google Home app and assistant to help us add items to our grocery shopping list, find out the weather forecast, and traffic jams in the mornings.  

Ok, back to Evernote.  It’s a dynamic app that allows you to type notes, save links and articles, take pictures of hand-written notes from meetings – which allows for keyword search ability even if your handwriting is bad like mine. The premium subscription isn’t much at all and totally worth the peace of mind.  At NextOp, we are proud Google Apps for Small Business users meaning Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Calendar all help us drive our business and allows us to access everything on-the-go from the road recruiting veterans into industry careers.  Productivity reigns when you don’t have to wait for antiquated systems to download your email, sync your calendars or queue your calendar when you’re operating such a fast-paced, lean team of amazing people.

So, whether you’re a new mom or dad seeking some solutions on how to stay productive as a valuable teammate while also ensuring you’re meeting the needs of your newborn baby, there are tons of products and apps out there to try out. Send us some of the items you’ve used and had success with so we can share them with our community!

I hope you are off to a great 2019 and cheers to sleep in between baby and work!

Tips for a Smoother Transition

By Khris E. Cabanas

The transition from military to civilian life can feel like a grueling experience, but it doesn’t have to be if you plan it right ahead of time. My transition from the Army back in March of 2017 had its ups and downs, yet it all fell back on my preparation for transition out of the military. The ups came from prior planning, and the downs came from overlooking the small things that can make a huge difference in your life as you integrate back into the “civilian world”.  Here are a few tips that you can use to smooth out your transition.

1. Start Saving Money Now!

As soon as you set your mind that you are ready to start the next chapter in your life, you should start saving and cutting out unnecessary costs out of your budget. The beauty about the military is that in most cases, you know when your last day in the military is. Realistically you want at least 3 months of pay (on the low end) to cover your living costs depending on how long it takes you to jump into your next role. Personally, I didn’t have a new source of income for four months, so the money that I saved before leaving the military helped me and my family live comfortably before going back to work.

2. Deciding on Work or School?

Are you going back to school, or are you going straight into the workforce? Maybe both? Either choice, you may run into a couple of setbacks without proper planning. For me, I was stuck in between of which route to take, so I did both. However, during my transition I attended as many career fairs as possible to not only look for a job, but to see if I was even qualified to do the jobs that I was interested in. Yes, we gain and learn a lot of skills in the military, but some jobs do require a college education, certifications, or licensing. One thing that I did overlook was purchasing professional attire. Since I was so use to wearing a uniform every day, I overlooked buying professional attire for interviews, and career fairs. Again, it is the little things that can make a huge difference during your transition. I did all my shopping on Amazon to find my professional attire. I found some very great deals by doing my shopping there. You can check out where I bought my slacks here and my polos here. You can also sign up for NextOp Veterans services, so that you can be connected with an employment coordinator who may be able to help you on your decision to pursue work or school. Our experienced team have transitioned from the military, been on the job market, went back to college or managed to do both. You can sign up here.

3. Networking

Make sure that you are staying connected with your fellow service members who have transitioned before you since they can usually offer you great advice as well on making your transition much smoother. Make a LinkedIn account! If you are not on LinkedIn, then you are wrong. We live in a digital age where technology is prevailing, so you can either can get on the train or get left behind. It has been estimated that 70% of new hires came directly from referrals, or who you know. It may be a tough pill to swallow, but it is the truth. Remember, it isn’t always about networking to get a job. The connections you make with other professionals will help you along your professional journey in the workforce as well.

4. Be Resilient

Even with perfect planning setbacks will still arise that our out of your control. You need to be flexible and remember the resiliency skills that you learned in the military. I learned early on in my transition not to dwell on the things that I couldn’t change and to keep pushing towards my end goal of gaining employment. Everyone will hit a roadblock or two. However, it is how you get through those obstacles and continue to move toward your goals. Also, remember (if you are married with kids) your family is going through this transition with you as well. Include your spouse and kids on the decisions you are making. I overlooked this aspect of transitioning and forgot that my spouse and children were feeling some of the same feelings that I felt.

No matter where you are in your transition from the military, remember that you aren’t the first, nor the last to leave the military. You can do this! You set your mind on leaving the military, because you were ready for your NextOp. So, go out and do great things in your community, and show them the value that veterans bring to the table.

NextOp Veterans Receives Grant from The Bob Woodruff Foundation

Houston, TX, November 27, 2018 – NextOp, Inc. is pleased to announce it has received a generous grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) to support NextOp’s Veteran Employment Program. This grant will help improve NextOp’s survey response rate, data collection, and analysis to understand NextOp outcomes better and to describe the impact of NextOp’s program beyond job placement. The overall goal and mission of NextOp is to recruit, train, and place high-performing middle-enlisted military leaders into industry careers. This would not be possible without the assistance we receive from foundations like the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

“We’ve focused our investments on programs that meet the urgent and emerging needs of the military-veteran community,” said Anne Marie Dougherty, Executive Director at the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “We’re excited that this Fall’s grant recipients represent a balance of both programs new to BWF and also longstanding partners, with whom we effectively address our priorities for this year and beyond. These outcome-oriented programs all help ensure that the Post-9/11 community will thrive after service.”

“Support like this makes it possible for NextOp to continue to serve our veteran community. We thank the Bob Woodruff Foundation for this generous grant and for their commitment to help nonprofits who serve our nation’s veterans.” stated NextOp Executive Director John Boerstler.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation is committed to creating long-lasting positive outcomes for our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured veterans, service members, families, and caregivers. BWF leverages its expertise and collaborative network to find, fund and shape innovative programs that help our impacted veterans, service members and their families thrive.

About the Bob Woodruff Foundation

The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) was founded in 2006 after reporter Bob Woodruff was hit by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq. Since then, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has led an enduring call to action for people to stand up for heroes and meet the emerging and long-term needs of today’s veterans. To date, BWF has invested more than $57 million to Find, Fund and Shape™ programs that have empowered impacted veterans, service members, and their families.


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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Anna Bowers at (832) 735-0051 or email at [email protected]